The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. has become the first of the nation’s 20 largest life insurance companies to offer disability coverage as an option on most of its permanent life insurance policies, according to the company.

The insurer points to market conditions in which a disabled employee is also the owner of a small business or a key employee suffers a sudden disability, which can impact the financial well-being of the company and its staff. The death benefit can be used to replace income, pay estate taxes and help fund business continuation. But the disability of an owner or key employee can be just as disruptive.

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